Student public action committee leads campuses nation-wide in pro-Israel activism
Many American citizens probably couldn’t find Israel on a map. Thousands of miles away from the United States, nestled in a turbulent middle east, the Jewish homeland might seem of little importance to the general student population. At the University of Oregon, the student run initiative Quack PAC — a sub group of Ducks for Israel — is trying to change that. Its members believe that not only should Americans know more about Israel but they should also use their political rights to fight for its safety.
The nation of Israel is a world leader in terms of technological, ecological and social advancement. Israeli scientists and doctors are on the forefront of technological discovery, developing agricultural and medicinal solutions for an increasing world population.
These qualities, among others, are cited by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee — a bi-partisan group of congressional leaders — as primary reasons for lobbying toward the establishment of a strong America-Israel relationship on Capitol Hill.@@checked [email protected]@
Quack PAC is a group of AIPAC-trained student activists who hope to continue that political fight for Israel on a campus level. @@http://www.ojlife.com/2012/apr/ae/[email protected]@
“One of (AIPAC’s) big ideas is to get students involved because the belief is that students on campuses will someday be the leaders of the country,” said Talia Davis, AIPAC campus liaison and Quack PAC leader.@@http://www.uoregon.edu/findpeople/person/Talia%[email protected]@
As a student organization, Quack PAC aims to promote US-Israel relationships by generating awareness of the issue among student and state leaders. By spreading the word about Israel’s unique position as a threatened democratic state, they hope to inspire support for the nation they believe shares America’s core values.
So far, Quack PAC has made unprecedented progress: In early February, ASUO became the first student government nationwide to pass a resolution condemning the existence of a nuclear Iranian state, an effort spearheaded by the PAC.
Its success in passing this resolution, along with efforts to cultivate relationships with student leaders and its development of a pro-Israel leadership development youth program, led to Quack PAC receiving national recognition this month. Quack PAC was one of five student groups awarded the distinction of “Activists of the Year” at the annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington D.C. It was the second year in a row the group has been awarded this distinction.
Although its members concede being recognized at a national conference with 2,000 student activists representing 449 campuses is a tremendous honor, Quack PAC maintains that its motives are more than superficial.
“We like the recognition, but we only do it because it really means something to each and every one of us,” group member Josh Losner said. @@http://www.uoregon.edu/findpeople/person/Josh%[email protected]@
Indeed, members of Quack PAC have diverse and personal reasons for joining the committee. For some, the fight for Israel stems from a desire to preserve religious and cultural sites sacred to their Jewish heritage. Other secular members of the group joined because of their interest in Israel’s humanitarian efforts, technological advancements and social acceptance policies. For the committee, religious and political differences take a back seat to a common goal of protecting Israel as a precious resource.
“It’s not a Jewish thing, it’s not a Christian thing, it’s an American thing,” Davis said.
In the coming terms, Quack PAC hopes to build on its success at the UO. The group is currently drafting a statement proclaiming that the University supports an America-Israel relationship which they hope to present to the ASUO next fall. The committee will also continue forging relationships with campus and state leaders. Group leaders hope to bring Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) to campus for a pro-Israel discussion this April.@@checked [email protected]@
Regardless of their political aspirations, Davis says Quack PAC members’ ultimate goal is to generate awareness and discussion about the issue from both sides of the table.
“I think that people should know we’re not here to push an agenda,” she said. “We have to educate ourselves on all sides of the conference, not just one side … our goal is to bring a more peaceful conversation to the table.”
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